War unending, the constant state of conflict in life, whether subtle or blatant.
“Why conflict? Why would the Force exist to foment conflict and death?”
He sighed, becoming agitated. “Because the survivors of the conflict come to understand the Force more deeply. Their understanding evolves. That is purpose enough.”
~Deception, pg. 15
The idea of constant change and evolution has been seized on by plenty of people seeking to dismantle the dynamics of things that possess form. An attempt to do that, to obfuscate the value and workings of the dynamics between the Light, Dark, and Shadow aspects of the Force Academy, came about not long after I became more involved with the community. I see it as lazy, to adopt constant evolution as the focus that overshadows all others in spiritual teachings. I accept that change is fairly constant, but change is meaningless without solidity, shape, and form. If you don’t embrace what you are, the siginificance of any changes that occur become… far less than they would otherwise be.
I think evolution, tranformation, is both desirable and important, but so are other things: the elements of it that tend to get downplayed, but that make change and progression actually matter.
A caterpillar transforms, but it is first a caterpillar. That it has a form, a shape, a state of being, and that it changes drastically into another form; that is what makes it worth noting. Distinctions, drawing lines in the sand, taking a stand, and so on… those things are what make change matter. Otherwise, who the fuck cares that everything changes?
∞ ◊ ∞
I have a passion for conflict itself. Intellectual, cold debate (that’s never as cold as it seems, since people take the time to post coherent posts that are a tedious read); Mindful, fiery discussion (maybe my favorite, the most enjoyable, when passion and reason are married, when one supports the other); childish name calling, indignation, all passion no reason. It can all be milked to the last drop, it can all be passed through and learned from.
“I personaly have based the majority of my whole body of work around conflict. It is a sacred process for me. I find it similar to a source of meditation, a path to gnosis. It is where I find my center, the eye of the storm so to speak.”
There’s a hierarchy to forms of conflict to, in a manner of speaking, but not necessarily in the way one might think. ‘High’ level intellectual debates and ‘low’ level mud slinging, for instance, are on the same level. So you’ve excelled at being in touch with your feelings, and you express them? Well done, but that’s not even the half of it. Or you’ve excelled at the employment of logic and reason, and you know how to use them effectively? Good for you, but that’s not even half of it either.
The one is living and feral; the other, dead and sterile. Apart, they’re less than half the picture. Together though, in the synthesis that comes of marriage the picture painted is so much more than the sum of its parts. If you know where to look, most well remembered pathwalkers have said something to this effect. Hell, the symbiotic relationship of “head” and “heart” is even specifically pointed at, it’s development encouraged, in a great deal of the training that’s been offered by us over the years.
∞ ◊ ∞
Peace is technically defined as a lack of hostility. There’s nothing wrong with hostility though, or even enmity; to the contrary, actually. Me? I define it as a lack of conflict… and if you know anything about how I see conflict, there’s no such thing as a lack of it for anything that’s alive. Not for plants or single-cell organisms, and not for apes or humans. I could explain the nature of conflict in much the same way I’ve explained power in the past.
There are different intensities, so vulgar and blatant it’s hard to miss, or so subtle that you don’t even notice – but it’s there, if you pay attention, if your perceptive enough to see it. Conflict is friction, it’s the mingling of various influences, pulling and pushing to overcome each other. That all forms of life have a drive of some sort, some kind of desire (however simple or complex)… means that they all exert influence, they’re all in conflict with something or someone at every moment. Peace is a sense of not being immersed in conflict, a sense of security and safety. I just don’t believe that such a sense of peace is ever really true or accurate to reality, to what Is.
So when I feel a sense of peace, it’s a lie. And I remind myself of that when I start to slip under the comforting veil. With enmity, mutual hatred, or even just plain low-key hostility – things that conflict seems exclusively associated with way to much, to the point that for some people conflict is synonoymous with enmity – I don’t know if I’d say I always derive pleasure from it, persay, or even that I’m always mindful enough to grow in the midst of it, but I find myself able to appreciate it because of how I look at it. I don’t feel a need to demonize less palatable, less pleasant, or unfamiliar intensities of it.
∞ ◊ ∞
Passion, like power, is a defining point of all life, from one-cell organisms to humans. So naturally, conflict cannot be avoided by the living. Most people only take not of the vulgar examples, outright violence, malice, and other material manifestations. But it’s only a matter of awareness. Within you is all the passion in the world, a universe of it, and so too with every other individual. Like the air you breath, it’s there, even if you don’t acknowledge it. You’re enthralled in it even if your ignorant of its presence.
Immersion in conflict, thriving on pain, being actively engaged with my emotions and with others, stryfe… these are all a part of who I am, and they’re not aspects I’m dissatisfied with or ashamed of. I’m at my best when I have to struggle, when I have to work through pain, when I have to fight. It’s me. If I have to shift my focus towards breaking chains as opposed to focusing on what I’m fighting for sometimes, then so be it. If I have to shift again, I will. Back and forth. If that’s what it takes to move forward, if that’s who I am, that’s me.